NOAA Fisheries, Atlantic coast partners release plan to improve recreational fisheries data

NOAA Fisheries, Atlantic coast partners release plan to improve recreational fisheries data

March 31st, 2023

The Atlantic Coastal Cooperative Statistics Program and NOAA Fisheries have jointly released the Marine Recreational Information Program Regional Implementation Plan for the Atlantic Coast.

It highlights data needs and funding priorities over the next 5 years for improving recreational fisheries data collection on the Atlantic Coast.

“Our regional and state partners are essential to developing, executing and improving our national network of recreational fishing surveys that inform catch estimates,” said Evan Howell, NOAA Fisheries, director of the Office of Science and Technology.

“We rely on partners like ACCSP to efficiently facilitate regional partnerships and joint data collection activities, as well as identify regional priorities through tools like our regional implementation plans,” Howell said. “I want to thank all of our partners for their hard work to develop this plan together, and we look forward to our continued partnership as the plan is implemented.” 

ACCSP is the state-federal partnership that collects, manages, and disseminates Atlantic commercial and recreational fisheries data and serves as the MRIP Regional  Implementation Team for the Atlantic Coast.

It also coordinates state conduct of the MRIP Access Point Angler Intercept Survey and For-Hire Survey from Maine to Georgia. Program partners include coastal resource agencies from 15 states and the District of Columbia, 2 interstate marine fisheries commissions, 3 regional fishery management councils, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and NOAA Fisheries.

To provide better data for stock assessment and management, the ACCSP Coordinating Council and Recreational Technical Committee (RecTech) identified top priorities for improving recreational data collection on the Atlantic Coast through 2027. 

Atlantic Coast Prioritized Activities
  • Improved precision and presentation of MRIP estimates
  • Comprehensive for-hire data collection and monitoring
  • Improved recreational fishery discard and release data
  • Improved timeliness of MRIP recreational catch and harvest estimates
  • Expanded biological sampling of recreational fisheries 
  • Improved in-season monitoring

“Through the ACCSP, state, regional and federal partners are able to cooperatively identify and prioritize recreational fishery data needs for the entire Atlantic Coast and coordinate efforts to address these needs and improve recreational data collection,” said Angela Giuliano, ACCSP RecTech chair.

RecTech is composed of ACCSP partner personnel who specialize in survey design, statistical estimation of fishing effort, catch, and participation, and the operation of recreational sampling programs.

The Atlantic Regional Implementation Plan will help guide NOAA Fisheries’ allocation of resources to best address the data needs of regional fishery stock assessors and managers. 

“Working together, we have allocated targeted increases in sample size by month and mode to improve precision of MRIP estimates,” said Dawn Franco, RecTech vice-chair.

“We are also working on methodology to improve for-hire data collection,” Franco said. “Over the next 5 years, we can achieve even more by building on our momentum and nurturing the relationships that have been forged.” 

National Perspective

NOAA Fisheries maintains a central role in developing data collection and estimation methods, administering recreational fishing surveys, implementing survey and data standards, and producing recreational fisheries statistics.

Regional and state partners identify regional data collection priorities, coordinate survey operations and on-site data collection, and participate in quality assurance and quality control procedures.

Through Regional Implementation Plans, each region plays a critical role in identifying  which survey methods are most suitable for its science, stock assessment, and management needs.

NOAA Fisheries uses these plans to develop a national inventory of partner needs and associated costs, and to annually specify priority-setting criteria for supporting those needs. These plans inform MRIP decision-making for ongoing research priorities and budget allocation.

The Regional Implementation Plans are adjusted at least every five years or as necessary based on changing science, management needs, and budget availability.

This collaborative approach is critical to addressing region-specific needs for improving recreational fishing data and supporting fishing opportunities for generations to come.

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